Since 2006 the Faculty of Philosophy has organised an annual public lecture sponsored by Routledge. Each lecture has been prepared for a general audience by a leading authority on his or her subject.
Previous Routledge Lectures in Philosophy have been:
15 June 2015
Professor Judith Jarvis Thomson
Professor Emerita, MIT
Partiality consists in favouring some people in a group rather than others. Morality permits us some instances of favouring, but forbids us others. We are pretty good at recognizing which instances are permissible and which are not. What we lack is a moral theory that would explain and justify the differences. It is hard to find such a theory, so a second thing we lack is an explanation of the fact that it is so hard to find such a theory. The lecture will concern itself with both problems.
12 June 2014
Professor Michael Bratman
U. G. and Abbie Birch Durfee Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Professor of Philosophy, Stanford University
“Thinking and Acting Together”
Human beings act together in characteristic ways, and these forms of shared intentional and shared cooperative activity matter to us a great deal. Think of friendship, singing duets, and the joys of conversation. And think about the usefulness of conversation and of how we frequently manage to work together to achieve complex goals, from constructing buildings to putting on plays to establishing important results in the sciences. Bratman seeks a framework for understanding these basic forms of sociality. And explores the conjecture that structures of individual planning agency are at the heart of such sociality.
21 February 2013
Professor Susan Wolf
Edna J. Koury Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Responsibility, Moral and Otherwise”
Philosophers frequently distinguish between causal responsibility and moral responsibility, but that distinction is either ambiguous or confused. We can distinguish between causal responsibility and a “deeper” kind of responsibility, and we can distinguish between holding people accountable for their moral qualities and holding people accountable for their nonmoral qualities. But, because we sometimes hold people deeply responsible for nonmoral qualities, these distinctions are not the same. By reflecting on the character and legitimacy of our reactive attitudes toward nonmoral behavior and character traits, we may be able to make better progress in understanding the nature of responsible agency.
19 October 2011
Professor David Luban
Professor of Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University
“Arguing about Torture”
More than 20 years ago, international law declared torture a crime that can never be justified. Yet governments continue to torture, and citizens continue to argue about torture. We argue about ticking bombs, what works and what doesn't, what is and isn't torture, whether absolute rules have emergency exceptions. We debate whether to hold politicians, lawyers, and psychologists accountable. The lecture will address these arguments and reflect on the experience of the UK, the United States, and elsewhere.
15 March 2011
Professor T.M. Scanlon
Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity, Harvard University
"Ideas of the Good in Moral and Political Philosophy"
The lecture will consider ways in which ideas of goodness and value in recent moral philosophy have been shaped and perhaps distorted by what has been seen as their role in accounts of moral right and wrong, and theories of justice.
Professor Philip Pettit
Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values, Princeton University
"The Open Doors Model of Freedom"
According to Isaiah Berlin the options in a truly free choice are open doors. Developed fully, the metaphor gives us an elegant map of the rival theories of freedom.
Professor Richard Moran
Brian D. Young Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University
“Iris Murdoch and the Rejection of Existentialism”
In this lecture, Professor Moran will be examining the characterization of Sartrean existentialism in Iris Murdoch's The Sovereignty of Good and other writings.
31 January 2008
Professor Andy Clark
Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, University of Edinburgh
“Messy Minds: Embodiment, Action and Explanation in 21st Century Cognitive Science”
Biologically evolved intelligence makes the most of brain, body, and world. This talk looks at the resulting messiness, and highlights some pros, cons, and (both methodological and metaphysical) complexities.
22 November 2006
Professor Thomas Pogge
Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
"Intellectual Property Rights and Access to Essential Medicines"